The Iroquois Confederacy was founded by Dekanawidah (the Peacemaker) with the help of Aionwatha (Hiawatha). Five different nations founded the Iroquois Confederacy: the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk. Each nation retained its own territory, language and culture.

The purpose of the Confederacy was to eliminate persistent inter-tribal warfare that existed at that time. There was also the desire to create a united group that would protect existing Iroquois territory, defend against invasion, and to possibly expand on existing territory.

Estimates vary widely as to the founding date of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy, with many sources citing a time frame between 1570 and 1600. However recent research by Mann and Fields (1997) suggests the actual timeframe date may have been on or about August 31, 1142.  Whether its inception was in the 1100’s, or 1600’s, it is clear that the Haudenosaunee Confederacy one of the earliest and longest lasting democracies in the world.